But this show, written by Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon, does more than tell the story of John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown’s achievement. It takes us into those now-distant times punctuated by the First World War when international competition was fierce but not necessarily (or literally) cut-throat. And it also reminds us that those who write scripts sometimes blur the distinction between fact and fiction in the interests of providing a bankable story.
Richard Earl as Brown is the bouncy one of the two aviators; Ian Shaw has to be content with being something of a sidekick. Both work very hard, ad-libbing where appropriate, and carry the audience with them into the strange world in which Helen Fownes-Davies’ designs play such a crucial role. Tom Lishman’s soundscape is spot-on, with jaunty newsreel music alternating with strange echoes from an aerial terra incognita. The director is Daniel Buckroyd.